So You Still Want Me to Write About the 2019 Draft

Jay Yencich · May 31, 2019 at 5:45 am · Filed Under Mariners 

There are surely perils to having one’s team outperform the previous year. One is the inevitable step back, but when coupled with the idea that you’re not looking at top flight draft pick coming in either, it can make for a depressing midseason. But there are good bits of news? I mean, we probably won’t be drafting a college reliever like we did the last time we were in such a position, and we have three day one picks, which is 50% more than we usually have! WOW! Sure, it’s a down year, but what better way to feel like things are changing and in motion than adding 30+ names to the system after calling out 40+?

What times have they decided on for this year?
We’ll be starting Day 1 (Rounds 1 / 2 + Competitive Balances + Compensations) at 4 pm local time on Monday, June 3rd. From there, Day Two (Rounds 3 – 10) begins on Tuesday the 4th at 11 am, then we do the conference call on Day Three from 10 am until question marks. It proves a great time to spike your coffee and let it all happen. All of these are best found online through because try as they might, baseball draft coverage doesn’t make for sexy programming in the same way that the NFL or NBA might.

What selections do we have?
The hometown nine won’t be on the board until #20, then will have a long wait until they pick #59 overall in the second round and a shorter wait to the #76 we picked up from the Indians in the Santana / Encarnacion trade. That will do it for day one. Day two, our selections start at #97, then #126 because a pick got forfeited, and then in intervals of thirty thereafter.

What sense do we have from the front office?
Other than the excitement involved in “yeah! new toys!”, and presumably, “yeah! trade fodder!”, I was listening to The Wheelhouse, ep. 50 recently for insight. I definitely select for minor league materials and in the process picked up an interesting bit of the team’s scouting philosophy, which helps to explain the Logan Gilbert pick last year. Basically, I would describe them as being less volatile in their methodology and preferring to take a longer view into consideration. So, unless there’s a lot to back up a fast-riser, they won’t take one just because he’s done something lately, and neither will they eschew the guy who has fallen in esteem unless they can point to why. It seems rather basic, if not obvious, but it’s not a philosophy we’ve seen shared by previous front offices who preferred things like position switches, transfers, etc. There are merits to it, as well as drawbacks, I imagine, since you’re operating with a higher level of inertia. I don’t know on the whole if their team that finds weird stuff like “Brennan’s change-up” or “Fraley’s swing change” also spills over into the amateur scouting, but I would hope it does.

Having officially stepped back, I might also expect to see them take shots at prospects with longer development windows. This was initially what they were going to do last year, but then there was a run on high school players and suddenly the best players on their own boards were college types and so they loaded up there again. If we don’t do much of that on days one and two, the Mariners have recently had a pretty good sense for what high schoolers may be signable and were able to save money in rounds 1-10 to go grab “tougher sign” prep pitchers like Damon Casetta-Stubbs in the eleventh round and Holden Laws in the sixteenth. It’s enough of a pattern to where I’d expect to see it happen again unless we’re really breaking the bank to sign young guys earlier on.

What is the larger prediction of the scouting outlets?
This year, we seem to have a divided group of opinions. Some have all but typed us as a college-favoring organization and have tied us to names like Texas Tech 3B Josh Jung and Elon RHP George Kirby, maybe Clemson SS Logan Davidson, who has fascinating tools but is without a tight track record. Others want to link us to the prep shortstop ranks and see a selection like Anthony Volpe (NJ), Nasim Nunez (GA), Gunnar Henderson (AL), or Brooks Lee (CA). Both sound probable although I lean a little towards the latter as seeming more likely, since it fits the MO and there may yet be good prep infielders available. I’d rather go with a longer range project than thinking we’re going to compete so soon, though Davidson could split the difference there. That being said, as with every sport, draft stuff gets weird in a hurry and pick #20 is a bit far out for me to feel comfortable predicting anything all.

While there always ends up being some amount of hairsplitting– Dipoto cited numerically ranking all the players on their board and I DO NOT ENVY THEM– one sense that has emerged is that there won’t be a huge difference in talent from if you’re selecting in the early teens or down at twenty where we are, which is some solace to be taken. Available “impact bats” should be gone by pick ten or so. One overall question is where pitching will start to be selected as it’s regarded as an especially shallow college class. Thus, it will be interesting to see who blinks first and takes that college pitcher, as there’s a risk of artificially inflated value as well as “panic” spreading through draft rooms as teams try to scoop up what little depth there is. A potential side effect could be a run on players like Oregon’s Kenyon Yovan, a former prep pick of the Mariners who has been off the mound much of the season due to hand injury. I could see the team pursuing a few guys with high potential but present non-serious injuries rather than taking a healthier organizational guy. It’s another variable we’re playing with.

What local angles do we have to work with?
The likely number one overall pick will be catcher Adley Rutschman, who the Mariners picked out of high school three years ago in the 40th round, back when he was an Oregon prep kid and signed on to be both kicker for the Beavers football team and their starting catcher. His stock exploded last season and he’s now regarded as one of the best backstop prospects in years as well as a consensus 1/1. Locally, we also have Lakeside outfielder Corbin Carroll being set up as perhaps the highest draft pick in state history. He’s a plus defensive center fielder with a good sense of the strike zone, though he’s been up and down in esteem as some wonder how much power he has and DINGERS.

You don’t want to take the best of each group and type solely based on that, but it does work as being representative in this case. The Oregon class this year is almost entirely college players coming out of the big two schools, so pull up some NCAA stats and see what you like. The Washington class is more of a mix of prep players and college players, with the UW battery of C Nick Kahle and RHP Josh Burgmann being among the more interesting NCAA types. The wild card with the prep ranks is that there are a fair number of fancier college commitments. Carroll is set up to go to UCLA, yet the consensus second-best prep in OF Joshua Mears has a commitment to Purdue, and further down the listings you’ll see places like Vandy and Stanford associated. The addition of draft pools to the amateur calculus has made it trickier to buy out major college commitments, so anyone who pursues such players better know what they’re up to.

What’s the current state of system depth with the caveat that we shouldn’t be addressing it unless those circles overlap on the Venn?
Trades have significantly bolstered our ranks in terms of starting pitching and outfield depth. If you’ve been paying attention this season, nearly all of the outfields of the full-season affiliates are interesting in some way. We’re really, really lacking in interesting infield depth outside of the I-5 commuting duo of Shed Long and J.P. Crawford, and current top pick discussions would probably help with that in some small way. Catching is also a place we could stand to improve a little although the 2018 class has really added to the depth there. I would probably rank the overall charts as Outfield > Starting / Relief Pitching > Catching > Infield, but would probably be more inclined to add pitchers than catchers for reasons obvious to everyone.

What are you looking forward to from the draft?
Drafting a future Mariner.


3 Responses to “So You Still Want Me to Write About the 2019 Draft”

  1. heyoka on May 31st, 2019 9:48 am

    The Mariners are a little thin at the running back position.

  2. Jay Yencich on May 31st, 2019 2:34 pm

    It’s true, we haven’t drafted many running backs since Frank Mattox stopped being our head of amateur scouting.

  3. Stevemotivateir on May 31st, 2019 7:42 pm

    I wonder if they’ll draft any more people for the analytics department.

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